IRELAND could be facing a modern gold rush after a low-profile exploration company reported it had found gold worth "millions" in the south-east.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, IMC Exploration said it had found an exceptional level of gold deposits after drilling.
The company said drilling had found 11.38 troy ounces of gold per tonne of earth. That is more than 300 times the size of the reported finds in Clontibret, Co Monaghan.
"These results are one of the highest-recorded gold grades ever found in Ireland and the company is rapidly progressing with ongoing drilling," the company said.
Company managing director Dr Glenn Millar said the results were "exceptional" at 11oz per tonne.
"This confirms the outstanding exploration potential of the area and highlights the materiality of this asset. IMC Exploration continues to be fired up and expects more success with their exploration in this area as our on-going drilling programme continues," he added.
The company is made of industry veterans including Hugh Gibney, who helped set up the Tara Mines in the 1960s and was a founder of Oliver Prospecting, which has since morphed into the billion dollar oil company, Dragon Oil.
Separately, the company recently announced positive results confirming the potential for zinc in Co Wicklow.
The find has raised fears that Ireland could lose its natural resources without receiving a true value for them but company director Neil Ring said the nation would be a huge beneficiary through investment and employment.
"It takes companies like IMC to put a lot of money into the drilling programme and obviously the Government cannot go around drilling for gold everywhere," he said.